Idaho Mountains: Salmon River Mountains

McCall Idaho
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Salmon River Mountains

Sprawling over a large part of central Idaho just east of McCall are the majestic Salmon River Mountains, a paradise for outdoor lovers including hunters, hikers, mountain and rock climbers, anglers, and rafters. Read More

  • Rock climbers can enjoy a several climbing options including trad climbing, aid climbing, and big wall climbing.
  • The Salmon River Mountains lie east of McCall and cover nearly 8,900 square miles.
  • The mountain range dominates much of the vast Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area.
  • Whitewater enthusiasts can enjoy excellent rafting on the Salmon and Payette Rivers.


This block-shaped region of central Idaho boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. The rugged Salmon River Mountains lie just east of McCall and cover a vast area of nearly 8,900 square miles - dominating a significant portion of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Towering mountain peaks, pristine alpine lakes, grassy meadows, and thick forest combine to make the area breathtakingly beautiful. A vast array of splendid wildlife, abrupt changes in elevation, and winding rivers with powerful rapids keep outdoor enthusiasts coming back to this mountain range every year.

Location & Information

The Salmon River Mountains cover a large region in central Idaho just east of McCall. The best time to visit this area is from late spring through the fall, when snow doesn’t limit accessibility to some areas.

Contact information: 208-756-5290


  • Whitewater - This area is surrounded by the majestic Salmon River, which is notable for its excellent stretches of whitewater rapids. Ranging from Class II to Class V, these rapids are perfect for a summer float trip. The Payette River, which flows along the western and southern borders of Salmon Mountains also boasts some challenging rapids. While you’re floating you may glimpse Bighorn Sheep grazing on the hillside along the river.
  • Peaks - The Salmon Mountain Range is the Idaho’s second largest batholith mountain group. It offers rock climbers a wide variety of options including trad climbing, mixed climbing, aid climbing, big wall climbing, and ice climbing. With 5 peaks over 10,000 feet, and several others towering over 9,000, mountaineers have plenty of summits to ascend.
  • Trails & Wildlife - There are hundreds of miles of maintained trails in this are to explore on foot, mountain bike, or horseback. Wildlife viewing is excellent with over 370 species discovered in this area including mountain lions, deer, elk, black bears, wild turkeys, otters, chukars, and eagles.

Fun Facts

  • Elevation changes in this rugged terrain exceed 5,200 feet.
  • The highest peak is White Mountain, at 10,442 feet.
  • Cabin Creek Peak at 9,968 feet was first summited by Tom Lopez in 1988.